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A number of Manx emigrated to work in the mining industry in South Africa in the 1890's - this letter was quoted in Manx Church Magazine Jan 1891 p xii.

Superintendent's Office, The Cape Copper Co., Limited.

Ookiep, Namaqualand, 20th Nov., 1890.

The Lord Bishop of Sodor and Man

My Lord,—I trust you will pardon the liberty I take in writing to you, but I thought that possibly you might like to hear that we are still in the "land of the living," although 6,000 miles away from our Island home.

We arrived here at Ookiep on the 16th July, and met with a very kind and hearty reception. . We have a good house and every comfort the country can afford. We have also another furnished house down at the coast at Port Nolloth, 92 miles from Ookiep, and furnished rooms about midway, so on that score we are all well provided for. We have also the Company’s Railway from Port Nolloth to Ookeip.

At Ookeip we have a very beautiful church - rather larger than Foxdale ; also a Wesleyan Chapel rather larger than that at Foxdale. At Port Nolloth we have a fairly good church, and a hard-working Parson. At Ookiep we are fully 70, with a nice choir and Sunday school. We have had the Lord Bishop of Cape Town staying with us the last twelve days. We have a large population, both of white and coloured. The Hottentots and Damaras live in huts not fit for dogs. I should say they are about the lowest type of humanity. Brandy is their curse, in fact it is a curse to many of the whites as well as the blacks, and the one great hindrance to the missionary cause. We have a great many German Mission Stations in Namaqualand.. They have large grants of land from the Government with which they do no good but hinder other so that on the whole they do but little real good.. There motto is Vachem Veechy — Wait a bit or Wait a little"

I need hardly say that we have a very large concern, for in addition to the steam railway we have, I think, rather over 600 males besides a great number of horses When. in Cape Town I called on the Governor twice, who seemed, very pleased to see one from the Island Of course he enquired for everybody. I am thankful to say that up to three weeks ago we have all enjoyed good health, but since. that time my eldest daughter has not been so well, and is at present in the doctor’s hands ; however she is able to get out of doors again. I trust that your Lordship with Mrs Bardsley and family are all quite well. so far, thank, God, I never enjoyed better health. We are at an elevation of 3,050 feet. Animal food is very fairly good and cheap, good meat can be had at 4d per lb., but all other provisions are very high, so that on the whole living is expensive. We have a very large and able staff of officials—I cannot give you the number. Our head schoolmaster is a Manxman called Quirk, from Dalby. I think he told me he has been out here 29 years, and he looks jolly and well, " fat and full." I have engaged a young man from Foxdale called Louis Faragher, who came down here from the Transvaal as one of our junior underground agents. The smashing of Banks in the Colony has been dreadful, fortunately, we have not suffered, but you would be surprised at the number of applications I get weekly for clerkships. The applicants are in fact willing to do anything to earn a living. -

To leave our dear (to me) little Island and friends was a great wrench, hut so far I have never once regretted the step I have taken. I have every reason to be very thankful.—With my very kindest regards, I remain, my Lord,’

yours very respectfully, WM. KITTO


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© F.Coakley , 2001